Translation of an article by Gerald Lehner that appeared the first time on tuesday, October 27 on Salzburg.ORF.at (with 22 photos)
Italian wins 5,000 km road race
On the 44th day of the 5,000-kilometer road race in Salzburg, the Italian Andrea Marcato crossed the finish line as the winner on Monday evening. Four runners are still in the race - until November 3rd. The population and the Federal President react positively to this event from the USA, which is completely new for Austria.
Winning time of 38-year-old Marcato for 3,100 miles or 5,000 kilometers: 43 days, twelve hours, 25 minutes and 0.123 seconds. He crossed the finish line shortly after 6 p.m. on Austria’s national holiday.
In the past few days, Austria's local hero Ushika Muckenhumer has fought his way up to second place in the ranking. The man from Salzburg now has almost 4,400 kilometers on the odometer of his many pairs of worn running shoes in this race. (As of Monday evening). Muckenhumer is a dealer for musical instruments on Linzergasse. For him it should be six days to the finish.
Irish graduate physicist Nirbhasa Magee (who lives, works and trains in Iceland) has been quite ill for a while. He continued to run and walk on anyway, dropped to third place and now lies at a good 4,300 kilometers. Before the last days of the race, warehouse worker and logistician Ananda-Lahari Zuscin (Slovakia, 3,850 kilometers) followed in fourth place and social worker Milan Javornicky (Czech Republic, almost 3,700 kilometers).
is now the - only - fifth person worldwide who managed the longest race in the world in less than 44 days. "Normal" are 50 to 52 days for other high-performance athletes. The Italian was born on January 3rd, 1982 in Dolo near Venice. He studied languages at the University of Padua, is a certified swimming instructor, currently lives and works in Zurich (Switzerland ).
Nothing works without long experience
The already established winner from Salzburg comes from the Venice region, was part of the Italian national team of 24-hour runners in 2015 and 2016 and took part in the 2015 World Cup in Turin in this discipline. Marcato has already participated in numerous ultra distance races in Europe and the USA - 6, 12, 24 and 48 hours respectively. That is the basis of this sport.
In addition, there are many 100-kilometer and two 1000-kilometer runs for Marcato. For the first time he was now at the starting line for the five thousand kilometer distance. He is also one of the world's top people in long-distance swimming and has already covered 200 kilometers in a single competition - in a swimming pool.
Race moved from New York to Salzburg
With some of the first names of the athletes in Salzburg, it becomes clear that they feel connected to ancient Indian traditions. In addition to running, it's about yoga and meditation. The tireless quintet also competes here in honor of the yoga master, peace activist and long-distance runner Sri Chinmoy. He lived in India and the USA from 1931 to 2007.
Runs against the war
In the mid-1990s, yoga master and long-distance runner Sri Chinmoy founded this race to unleash a spiritual energy for peace. It was supposed to help end the then raging war in Yugoslavia with its indescribable crimes.
The runners wanted to prove that with the right motivation you can make the impossible possible - namely to run 5,000 kilometers. The traditional loop in New York is located in the borough of Queens - within sight of the borough of Manhattan and the UN headquarters on the East River, where many fates in the world are decided.
Special loop near Glan and Salzach
The Salzburg loop, which has to be completed almost 5,000 times, runs over just 1.1 kilometers through the small Glanspitz Park in the district Lehen. It was renatured and redesigned a few years ago by the Salzburg city administration. There are child-friendly playgrounds, hills, natural streams and watercourses in the area around the Glan, where it flows into the Salzach at the Salzburg-Lehen power plant. Compared to the route in the Queens borough of New York, Salzburg is a paradise, say the participants. Overseas, the races take place not far from a highway intersection.
Praise from residents and park users
The kindergarten teacher Ute Präauer was involved with groups of children in the planning for the redesign. The fact that the New York 5,000-kilometer run is now taking place here is a boon for the entire district, says the Salzburg native:
"Since the beginning of the race there has been a subtle and even more clear change in the living space in our area. The peaceful coexistence becomes visible every day. Total strangers talk to each other, look at each other, are interested. Music (never imposing or disturbing) is played on real Instruments, you see smiling passers-by, the runners who outgrow themselves. “
Sometimes the runners' supervisors have large, bright flowers in their hands. The paths are cleaned of wet and slippery leaves with brooms, and any rubbish is quickly cleared away, according to Präauer:
“There is a new openness for many who enter and use this park: walkers, runners, cyclists, children and again more children, dogs, people of many nationalities and in between the athletes who meditatively and actively dedicate their life to peace. I am happy with everyone who experiences this. And I am happy for the many children who are watching enthusiastically and are given new role models. You also have to thank the Salzburg city administration, especially Christian Siebenhofer. This project was approved and supported there."
Sonja Gatterer-Van der Felde from Salzburg is also surprised at how the race affects the district: “I walk through the park with my black dog every day and I am thrilled to see how the five runners are here for up to 52 days - in all conditions, rain, cold, little sleep and pain, "she wrote the team in an email:" I have great respect for the five runners and the team of supervisors. Without this, this incredible race would not be feasible. It's an enormous upgrade for the whole area. “
However, the police also received a few complaints from residents in Lehen who disliked the singing and music performances during the race. From time to time professional artists played their classical-symphonic music by Haydn and Mozart on a voluntary basis. Then again sitar sounds and chants from the Indian tradition of the yoga master, runner and founder Sri Chinmoy followed.
Letter from the Federal President
The fans of the event are in prominent company with their hymns of praise. Just a few days after the start, the head of state of the Republic of Austria wrote a letter to Salzburg from distant Vienna:
“I can't even imagine what it is like to run constantly through 52 days. Yes, I like to go hiking for a few hours. But running 52 days, 118 marathons - unbelievable! What a breathtaking endurance performance. You are assured of my respect. I wish all participating athletes, especially the Salzburg local hero Hubert Muckenhumer, all the best, lots of success and the necessary perseverance for the next extremely challenging days of running ”, reads the letter from Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen.
Watch and cheer until November 3rd
If you still want to experience the atmosphere and ambience, there is still time until November 3rd. Because the main field of the remaining athletes is in the race until Tuesday next week after the victory of the Italian Andrea Marcato.
Gerald Lehner, Salzburg.ORF.at